Salary hikes for key Treasury employees signed over protests from other ASG employees
Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga has approved proposed salary hikes for Treasury’s key people and this was confirmed by Treasurer Falema’o ‘Phil’ Pili in response to Samoa News queries.
According to Pili, there are a total of nine contracts that were signed by the Governor nine months ago, however during the procedural process the contracts were stuck on a director’s desk.
According to Treasury employees, the Treasurer’s Executive Assistant is making $50,000 (up from $30,000) while the IT Manager is making $48,000 (up from $38,000) and another IT employee is making $28,000. The Treasurer said for ten months, nine of his employees were not receiving the appropriate amount of pay, given their work for the betterment of Treasury and the American Samoa Government.
Pili explained that the director who sat on his contracts for so long “defied the governor’s approval and sat on these contracts for over three weeks because she couldn't stand having to see others making that kind of money.”
According to the Treasurer, the director “left recently on an unknown trip without signing my contracts after I pleaded with her to sign the contracts.” Pili further pointed out that these people have not received their right pay for over ten months and these contracts “were eventually signed by the Acting director after the Acting governor's order.”
He further stated that this specific director was upset she did not get her way.
Earlier this week, Samoa News received calls from several Deputy Directors who are questioning why the Treasurer’s Executive Assistant is making more than what they are currently making.
Pili told Samoa News that this same Director had office personnel all “receive pay adjustments in February averaging $2k to $6k. There is a freeze on, yet 80% of her staff are non-degree holders,” he said.
He also accuses this same director of leaking information to Samoa News, however Samoa News should point out Pili’s accusation is wrong.
As reported earlier Pili said, “This is just the beginning of what I am doing for the rest of the department — to upgrade their positions based on their performance and the forthcoming re-organization.”
He further stated that similar personnel actions have been processed elsewhere in other departments, and the Tax Division will also get their salaries upgraded.
In previous emails to the Treasurer on this issue, Pili stated these salary increases are funded in the Treasury’s Budget — under “Special Programs”.
VOUCHER PAYMENT FOR CUSTOM’S FINANCE MANAGER
Another issue that Samoa News questioned the Treasurer about is payment to the Customs Finance Manager, using a voucher, yet Governor Lolo last year put a stop to this practice of ‘payroll by voucher’.
According to Pili, the finance manager said the voucher payment was approved by Acting Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga. He said the Customs Finance Manager “has not received any pay for nearly six pay periods — he is still awaiting a contract from HR, and his voucher payment was approved by the Acting Governor.”
“I believe he has to eat too, don't you think?” Pili asked, and further noted there are exceptions to rules — but they are only made by the governor.
Lolo last year issued a memo noting those who are being paid by vouchers must have their paperwork processed through the Department of Human Resources. Queries sent to HR as to why the contract has not been signed have gone unanswered.